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Two Decades of Negative Educational Selectivity of Mexican Migrants to the United States

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  • Michael S. Rendall

    () (University of Maryland)

  • Susan W. Parker

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)

Abstract

Immigration is commonly considered to be selective of more able individuals. Studies comparing the educational attainment of Mexican immigrants in the United States to that of the Mexican resident population support this characterization. Upward educational attainment biases in both coverage and measurement, however, may be substantial in U.S. data sources. Moreover, differences in educational attainment by place size are very large within Mexico, and U.S. data sources provide no information on immigrants’ places of origin within Mexico. To address these problems, we use multiple sources of nationally-representative Mexican survey data to re-evaluate the educational selectivity of labor-force-age Mexican migrants to the United States over the 1990s and 2000s. We document disproportionately rural and small-urban-area origins of Mexican migrants and a steep positive gradient of educational attainment by place size. We show that together these conditions induced strongly negative educational selection of Mexican migrants throughout the 1990s and 2000s. We interpret this finding as consistent with low returns to the education of unauthorized migrants and few opportunities for authorized migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael S. Rendall & Susan W. Parker, 2013. "Two Decades of Negative Educational Selectivity of Mexican Migrants to the United States," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1328, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1328
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Erin R. Hamilton & Jo Mhairi Hale, 2016. "Changes in the Transnational Family Structures of Mexican Farm Workers in the Era of Border Militarization," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1429-1451, October.
    2. Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez & Alberto Palloni & Fernando Riosmena & Rebeca Wong, 2016. "SES Gradients Among Mexicans in the United States and in Mexico: A New Twist to the Hispanic Paradox?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1555-1581, October.
    3. Patt, Alexander & Ruhose, Jens & Wiederhold, Simon & Flores, Miguel, 2017. "International Emigrant Selection on Occupational Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 10837, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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